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August 06, 2009


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Nick B.



Hi Nick:

Well, you're succinct, I'll give you that.

You referring to my writing or Toyota's engineering?

If the latter, have you tried this Remote Touch system? I have to admit I was skeptical when I first tried it too, but it works pretty well.

If the former, well, um...

Jim Kenzie

Nick B.

Technology, not your writing style.

On another note; when is Ontario raising its ridiculous speed limits? Having just come back from a lengthy trip to the states, driving in Ontario is like watching paint dry. You need to put the daft speed limit back on the front burner in your agenda, and start hassling the politicians with your articles.

And yes, I don't care what people here say, Americans are better and more courteous drivers than Canadians.


Nick B.


I had a chance to try out the iDrive in whatever version is in the current 3-series. Best thing about it is at least the steering wheel buttons still work, no matter how lost you are in the iDrive. The rest of it I'm more likely to set it and forget it before I leave home.

With all the fuss about using cell phones while driving, the goobermint seems to ignore these distractions that are built right in to the car. At least with the phone you are still (hopefully) watching the road.


Jim, doesn't this type of "interface" force the driver to take his/her eyes off the road for much longer than an old fashioned knob or button would? Isn't this just as bad as texting while driving?

jim kenzie

Hi Nick:


As for speed limits, yes, we're still working on that one.

I had a one-on-one scheduled with O.P.P Superintendent Julian Fantino last fall to discuss specifically this idiotic "Street Racing" law, and speed limit enforcement in general, but he cancelled at the last moment and hasn't gotten back to me to reschedule. I'm not holding my breath.

As for Americans and courtesy, it is important to compare apples to apples. Many Canadians' driving experience with American drivers is in the I-75 corridor to the south, which winds its way through Middle America, avoiding any big cities.

My experience world-wide is that drivers are much worse, more aggressive, less courteous, in big cities than in smaller centres or rural areas. Germany, Portugal, England, South Africa, Korea, China - yes, Canada and the US too. (Japan may be the exception - they're all courteous over there).

Compare Toronto to New York, Belleville Ontario with, oh, Cincinnati Ohio, and I think you won't find that much difference!

Jim Kenzie

jim kenzie

Hi Brian:

That I think would be the second-latest upgrade to iDrive. I believe the latest is currently only in the new 7-Series, but I'm sure the fine folks at BMW will tell me otherwise if I'm wrong1

The point of all of these systems is that they are supposed to make handling all these functions easier, hence make driving safer.

Noble objective; not always achieved in practice.


jim kenzie

Hi Rob:

As I mention in the above response, the objective is to make driving safer!

We do get used to dedicated knobs; the plan is you eventually get used to these concepts too. And as the previous commenter noted, you should do the set-up while at rest, in your driveway or wherever.

Jim Kenzie


I think I know why the iDrive and similar such systems built into German cars are so difficult to master. With us Germans (yes, I am one) we believe that we have to be on the cutting edge of new technology, whether it's relevant technology or not.
Therefore some German engineered items tend to be a bit er... over fiddled, just to demonstrate how technologically advanced the engineers are.
Ever used the computer program SAP?
I rest my case!
Great column, keep up the great work!!

BTW are you on vacation or something? You recycled the roundabout rant from a few years back, but that's ok, it's still a valid point!

Jim Kenzie

Hi jr!:

Despite my Scottish-sounding surname (no "Mac" - they're all 'sons of us'...) my ancestors on my Father's side are also German, I do have an engineering degree - and I still can't figure it out!

As for 'recycling', I prefer to think of it as a 'reminder', as in, "Hey!! You haven't fixed this yet!"


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